The sheer quantity of activities involved in a church can wear everybody out. Such churches may be excellent social organizations, where members enjoy relationships with one another, but they have little transformational impact within the local community. When the activities of a church focus inward, the church has exchanged its mission for maintenance…True success can only result when the activities of God’s Body reflect what is in His heart. (Shaped by God’s Heart)
I live in the largest English-speaking mission field in the world (North America). It is the fifth or sixth largest mission field of any type. It’s exciting to think missiologically about where God has placed us and to believe:
God has put us here to bless the community (not to bless ourselves). Jesus is hanging out with the same people he has always been hanging out with (hint: they’re not at church). If we want to join Jesus, we’ll find him with the people that religious people call “sinners”. God has put us in our community for a reason. The answer to how to love our community will not be found at the Christian bookstore. It will be found in knowing our community and following the example of Jesus. We don’t need to be a Christian version of timeshare salespeople. We do need to love people and love Jesus. God has already strategically placed us in schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods in order to bless them.
I’ve been challenged to think about what the community would miss if our church wasn’t there. It’s exciting to recapture some of God’s purpose in putting us within a specific community and to long to meet that purpose.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)